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by Writing Workshops Staff

4 months ago


An Interview with Instructor Courtney Kocak on the Art of Teaching Writing & Podcasting

by Writing Workshops Staff

4 months ago

An Interview with Instructor Courtney Kocak on the Art of Teaching Writing & Podcasting

by Writing Workshops Staff

4 months ago

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern media, few voices resonate as distinctly and diversely as Courtney Kocak's. A writer, podcaster, and comedian based in Los Angeles, Courtney's multifaceted career spans acclaimed contributions to television, print, and audio. Her writing credits include Amazon’s Emmy-winning animated series "Danger & Eggs" and Netflix’s insightful "Know It All" podcast. Beyond the screen, her work can be found in the pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Cosmopolitan, and more.

But it's in the realm of podcasting that Courtney's creativity and expertise truly shine. She has produced a roster of highly-ranked podcasts, including The Bellas Podcast, which premiered at the coveted #1 spot on Apple Podcasts, and PayPal’s Never Stand Still. Her current podcasting ventures—Private Parts Unknown, The Bleeders, and Podcast Bestie—boast over two million downloads, establishing her as a formidable voice in the audio world.

Read on if you want to lean more about Courtney's upcoming classes, Land Big Bylines by Writing for Columns Zoom Seminar and Podcasting for Writers: How to Start, Sustain & Grow Your Podcast 4-Week Zoom Workshop.

Courtney shares her insights on the intersection of writing and podcasting, offers a glimpse into her teaching philosophy, and reveals the secrets behind her prolific career. Whether you're a budding writer aiming for major bylines or an aspiring podcaster looking to make your mark, Courtney Kocak's expertise promises to guide you on your creative journey.

Hi, Courtney. Please introduce yourself to our audience.

Hi, my name is Courtney Kocak. I'm a writer, podcaster, and comedian based in Los Angeles. I wrote for Amazon’s Emmy-winning animated series Danger & Eggs and Netflix’s Know It All podcast. I've produced a slew of highly-ranked podcasts—including The Bellas Podcast, which debuted at #1 on Apple Podcasts, PayPal’s Never Stand Still, and Girlboss Radio—and I currently host three of my own with over two million downloads to date. My bylines include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Cosmopolitan, BUST, Bustle, InsideHook, and more. I'm an MFA candidate at Antioch University, currently hard at work on a coming-of-age memoir in essays.

What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft?

I'm teaching Podcasting for Writers: How to Start, Sustain & Grow Your Podcast because podcasting has been an awesome career launcher and platform-builder for me. I want to help others get their podcasts up and running without making a bunch of expensive mistakes. I'm also teaching Land Big Bylines by Writing for Columns to share a winning strategy for breaking into top publications that has worked for me and can work for you too.

Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?

My other course, Land Big Bylines by Writing for Columns, is awesome because you will leave the class with a bunch of rough drafts and places to pitch, so you're going to have material to polish for submission, which is half the battle. And Podcasting for Writers is designed to walk you through the whole process over the course of four weeks, from refining your concept to producing your show to launching it out into the world. It's the perfect format for kickstarting your podcast with accountability, community, and resources.

What was your first literary crush?

Oo, that's a tough one. I was a pretty horny kid—probably Almanzo from the Little House on the Prairie books. Then, when I got a little bit older, I was obsessed with The Bridges of Madison County, lol.

What are you currently reading?

I'm currently reading The Wanting Was a Wilderness by Alden Jones. It's a craft book deconstructing Cheryl Strayed's Wild, braided with Jones's own trail experience.

How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?

I typically let my obsessions guide me. I have two book projects in the works, and at their core, they are both unpacking aspects or time periods of my life that I want to make sense of or find meaning in. I feel like my non-book-related essays choose me—they're usually inspired by whatever I'm processing in my life.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! As a creative nonfiction writer, my own life is the best source of inspiration.

What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?

I took a few essay classes from Taffy Brodesser-Akner about a decade ago, and she told us to "notice that you're noticing." It's good advice for idea generation. If you find yourself saying, "What's the deal with X?" in a Seinfeldian sort of way, that's probably fodder for an essay.

What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?

Vivian Gornick's The Situation and the Story is a must-read craft book that will give your writing more dimensionality.

Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?

I love teaching and I take pride in my students learning a lot from my classes. I aim to be an anti-perfectionist cheerleader who gives you the confidence and tools to unlock your greatest potential.

Work with Courtney

Courtney's upcoming classes offer a rare opportunity to learn from her extensive experience and unique insights, promising to equip aspiring writers and podcasters with the tools they need to succeed. Whether you're aiming to land that big byline or launch a podcast that resonates with listeners, Courtney's guidance will undoubtedly be a transformative force in your creative endeavors.


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